Florence, Oregon, located along the Central Oregon Coast in Lane County, is a place of constant activity and consistent relaxation.
With a population of over 7,000, the evergreen forests, sparkling lakes, wide open beaches and sand dunes makes it a catch-all for anyone wanting anything and everything. I'd say that it's a perfect town for anyone with ADHD! haha.
You can just go from one thing to another. 1/3 of the residents are made up of retirees and much of the remainder are past visitors who discovered the wonder of Florence and decided to stay for a lifetime.
For tourists, Florence is a gem for antiquing, boutiquing and general shopping in Old Town. The folks are friendly and always happy to help a wandering visitor, new to the area. If you're leaning toward some great outdoor activities, the salmon and steelhead fishing out of the Siuslaw River is perfect (the estuary area is great for clamming!).
The 40+ miles of dunes, some reaching 300 feet in height, are exciting places for tearing around on your ATV, shredding on your sandboard or taking a leisurely horse back ride. Speaking of sandboarding, make sure to stop by Sandmaster Park, an awesome place made especially for sandboarding enthusiasts. You may even spot world-champion sandboarder, Josh Tenge, giving a lesson there or tearing up the dunes himself!
Take a trip to the historic Heceta Head Lighthouse and take one of the daily tours, which include the Keeper's House where the watchers of the sea bedded down. Speaking of bedding down, there are a lot of great lodging throughout the town. Luxury Florence vacation rentals, Bed & Breakfasts, and comfortable hotels dot all areas of the city.
Stop in for a bite to eat at any of their many restaurants or try your hand at a few rounds of blackjack at the local Three Rivers Casino. You'll have no problem filling a day up with exciting things to do. If you're someone who would rather rough it in the great outdoors, you can head into the Siuslaw Forest for some outstanding camping in the lovely and clean campgrounds and RV parks.
One of the many nice things is it's location. It's only an hour from I-5, where you can get to Eugene and Portland fairly quickly.
As I mentioned, there are quite a few visitors who end up sticking around for good. The city offers terrific schools, parks and libraries and is a safe place to live (as safe as this world gets anymore!).
The average high temperature hovers around the mid-60 mark, so it's very mild and pleasant. Not too hot and not too cold. The low can get around 37, but that's not too awfully bad. In fact, according the local newspaper, The Siuslaw News, it's going to get up around 67 today. Just right for me! All-in-all, comfortable for a Pacific NW'er. ;)
An event that the Oregon coast town is notoriously known for happened on November 12, 1970. A 45-foot dead whale had washed up on the Florence beaches. The smell was reportedly pretty bad. The town government knew that it had to be disposed off, but were having a difficult time figuring out how.
Some highway engineers thought and thought until their little thinkers must have popped a gear. They figured that they would take a half-ton of dynamite and blow it up! The reasoning went that the whale would be blown into smaller chunks, providing many meals for the seagulls, thus disposing of the carcass. All would be well with the world.
Portland, Oregon newscaster, Paul Linnman and his film crew were on-hand to cover the whole, amazing story. The engineers and local police moved all the gawking residents and visitors (what they thought would be) a good distance from the whale and the dynamite.
The explosives were placed, the dynamite lit and BOOM!! It seemed like the plan was going to work....for a few seconds. Suddenly, huge chunks of dead whale meat came raining down from the skies and it literally became a run for survival. I remember seeing a large piece take out the roof of some poor person's car. I wonder if his insurance covered that! It was quite a happening that will be told and passed on for generations to come. Watch the video for yourself, if you think I'm telling stories.
Wacky engineers aside, the town is a wonderful place to visit and I would recommend it to anyone looking for some peace or a little adventure. There is more than enough of both to go around.